Dreaming of Dior: Every Dress Tells a Story

Charlotte Smith had already had more than her fair share of fabulous dresses and adventures. She lived life to the fullest in London, Paris and New York before falling in love with Australia and making it her home.

Then she discovered that she had inherited a priceless vintage clothing collection from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell.

When the boxes started arriving, they were filled with more than three thousand pieces dating from 1790 to 1995, from Dior and Chanel originals to a dainty pioneer dress.

But when she unearthed her godmother’s book of stories, the true value of what she had been given hit home. This wasn’t merely a collection of beautiful things; it was a collection of lives. Women’s lives. Tiny snapshots of our joys and disappointments, our entrances and exits, triumphant and tragic.

This is a book for any woman who knows a dress can hold a lifetime of memories.

Charlotte Smith is Curator of The Fashion and Textile Gallery in Sydney which is also home to The Darnell Collection, the 5000 piece vintage collection Charlotte inherited from her godmother, Doris Darnell.  Born in Hong Kong and raised in the United States, Charlotte has a degree from Hollins College in Art History and has lived and worked in America, England, and France for Impressionist art dealers.  She moved to Australia in 1998 and opened a shop selling French country antiques.  Charlotte has one daughter.

Grant Cowan has worked as an illustrator on magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Red magazine.  He studied fashion design and lived in London before moving to Australia to teach fashion illustration .  Grant is a freelance fashion illustrator and works  with fashion schools  in Sydney.

McQ Alexander McQueen Bodycon Zip Detail Mini Dress UK 14 Red

Featuring a striking zip detail this mini dress by McQ by Alexander McQueen gives a subtle nod to McQueen’s dramatic main line; wear open for a more risky look, or closed depending on occasion and your individual style. Perfect for the colder party season this bodycon dress features three-quarter sleeves in an autumn berry tone. With the perfect amount of stretch to ensure an enviable hourglass silhouette, this is a super flattering option that perfectly combines ladylike elegance and edgy style.

Product Features

  • Zip detail dress
  • Mini length
  • Statement branded zip detail to bust
  • Visible seam continues to side seam
  • Round neck

Vanity Fair Women’s My Favorite Illumination String Bikini Panty, Andromeda Print, Small/5

Side cutouts lend interest to Vanity Fair’s elegant bikini panty

Product Features

  • Smooth strata fabric
  • Coordinates with Illumination Bras

YSL Touche Eclat Mascara Radiant Touch, No.1, 0.08 Fluid Ounce

Buy Yves Saint Laurent Concealers & Correctors – Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat (Radiant Touch Highlighter) 1 Luminous Radiance

Product Features

  • YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter – 1 Luminous Radiance: Buy Yves Saint Laurent Concealers Correctors – Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat adds highlights, refreshes your makeup and brightens your complexion. Helps revives skin’s natural glow by capturing and reflecting light.

D&G Dolce & Gabbana Women’s 0DG4207 Cat-Eye Polarized Sunglasses,Black on Red,55 mm

Dolce and Gabbana 4207 Dolce and Gabbana 4207 sunglasses mix bright colours with an appealing pattern. Tortoise front and temples sit in front of an orange hue on the arms inside. Blue and red is found behind the feminine cat eye silhouette. 4207s authenticity is marked with Dolce and Gabbanas logo on the temples. Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses come with a two year manufacturers warranty. Colour Code: 2764T3 Colour: Black/blue/red/white Lens Category: 3 Lens(mm) : 55 Bridge(mm) : 20 Arm Length(mm) : 140 Polarised Lenses

Product Features

  • Case Included
  • Lenses are prescription ready (Rx-able)

Stretch Simple Cotton Mini Skirt Minijoup Basic Plain Skirt (Small, Black)

This little mini skirt is very comfortable and great fit. Can be worn with everything and used as casual or formal outfit

Product Features

  • Mini Skirt
  • 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex
  • Hand Wash Cold
  • Stretch quality fabric
  • Hollywood Star Fashion

Next Level The CVC Deep V Crew Neck T Shirt Ladies’ 6640 M Plum

Next Level The CVC Deep V T-Shirt: Junior fit sizing. A high-end jersey blend with a slight heathered appearance for gorgeous printing; The CVC Deep V 60% combed cotton/40% polyester jersey; 4.3-oz; 32 singles for extreme softness; slightly heathered; 1×1 baby rib-knit set-in collar; tear away label; Sizes: S-2XL. Care: Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Product Features

  • Junior fit sizing
  • A high-end jersey blend with a slight heathered appearance for gorgeous printing.
  • The CVC Deep V 60% combed cotton/40% polyester jersey
  • 4.3-oz.
  • 32 singles for extreme softness

Malco Modes Knee-Length Costume Petticoat Crinoline (Style 578) – Medium – White

Malco Modes Knee-Length Costume Petticoat Crinoline, style number 578 (Meghan). The top layer of fabric has five tiers of nylon net with matching satin binding on each tier. The bottom layer is made of nylon organza for a softer feel against the skin. Waistband is elastic and has lots of stretch in it. The length of the petticoat varies based upon the size. It is best to purchase the desired length petticoat and then alter the elastic waist band if needed. Hand wash warm. No bleach. Drip or fluff dry. Available in 15 beautiful colors!

Don’t be fooled by cheap imported costume knock-offs – since the 1940’s, all Malco Modes garments have been built with the quality and durability required by dancers and other performers. We use only the softest, finest fabrics, and all of our products are 100% hand-crafted with pride in the U.S.A. After just a single use you will notice the difference!

X-Small: waistband stretches from 21 inches to 38 inches; length is 19.5 inches
Small: waistband stretches from 23 to 42 inches; length is 21 inches
Medium: waistband stretches from 25 inches to 44 inches; length is 22 inches
Large: waistband stretches from 26 to 46 inches; length is 23 inches
X-Large: waistband stretches from 27 to 50 inches; length is 23 inches
**PLEASE note: Measurements are approximate. Remember to consider hip measurments when selecting a size.**

Please know that we go to great lengths to ensure the product images are color accurate, but, colors display differently on all monitors. Please call or email if you have any questions or concerns at all before submitting your purchase!

Product Features

  • Hand-made with pride in the USA
  • 100% Nylon, exclusive of trim
  • Authentic vintage-inspired 1950’s styling
  • Knee-length, perfect for a classic vintage look
  • Two layers of fabric, bottom layer is organza (soft on legs)

Matt Bernson Women’s Saber Boot,Brown,6.5 M US

Matt Bernson is based in Tribeca and designs luxurious sandals for women which are hand-produced in an artisanal workshop in the South of Brazil using the highest quality craftsmanship, eco-responsible materials, and advanced comfort-engineering. The sand

Lacey Padded Nursing Bra (38D)

You’ll want to keep wearing this nursing bra when your breastfeeding days are over. This lacey nursing bra is beautiful and will add some pizazz to your nursing bra collection. 95%polymide/5% elastane.

Product Features

  • Padded cups for shaping and lift.
  • Underwire for support.
  • Pretty black lace over satiny turquoise color cup.
  • Every mom deserves a glamourous nursing bra!
  • Affordable

McQ Alexander McQueen Women’s Leather Peplum Dress UK 14 Black

A luxury requisite, the Peplum dress by McQ by Alexander McQueen is beautifully crafted from pure goats leather for a showstopping sartorial edge. The ultra feminine peplum waist of this dress has tough urban appeal that showcases McQueen’s ability to create a ladylike take on rebellious spirit. Complete with a two way zip fastening to create a versatile back vent, this McQ Alexander McQueen dress features a seamed and darted bodice for a sophisticated figure hugging fit.

Product Features

  • Black leather
  • Peplum waist
  • Short sleeves
  • Round neck
  • Straight cut skirt

Illusions Women’s Delicate Nightgown (Large, Magnolia)

Look your best even at bedtime in a delicate nightgown Women's clothing is available in white and pink color options Intimate apparel boasts luxurious lace along a deep V-neckline Flattering empire waist Thin, adjustable back straps Machine washable 50-percent polyest/50-percent cotton

Emilio Pucci

The prince of prints: Pucci’s vision and legacy Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) had a passion for women, a visionary sense of style, and an eye for color and design. With these talents he created a fashion house unlike any other. By the early ’50s his boutique on the isle of Capri was catering to wealthy sophisticates, heiresses and movie stars buying his “Capri pants”, silk scarves and lightweight separates. By the end of the decade, Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were wearing his dresses, and by the mid-60s the label was synonymous with the gilded lifestyle of an international jetset. Today, the house remains as vibrant as ever – Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley, and Kylie Minogue are adherents. The Pucci story is a modern epic with its roots in renaissance Italy: the brand’s founder, the Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento, was a charismatic aristocrat whose lineage extends back to the 14th century. It is a story of evolution: how a family company grew from one tiny store to an international brand with 50 boutiques worldwide (and a presence in 300 more). And finally, it is a tale of innovation: Pucci was one of the first brands to bear a logo, and a pioneer of diversification into interiors, athletic wear and accessories. It introduced free-moving, lightweight fabrics, pop art prints, and a new color palette into womenswear, and constantly pushed fabric and printing technologies. Featuring hundreds of photographs, drawings, and candid shots from the archive of the Emilio Pucci Foundation, this tome captures the breathtaking elegance and drama of a unique brand. Vanessa Friedman’s text places Emilio’s achievements in the context of fashion history, and provides insight into the remarkable Pucci dynasty. Available in four different cover designs, each depicting an original pattern from the Pucci collection. Your order will be filled with one of these designs. First published as a limited edition – now available in a standard TASCHEN edition!

Dolce & Gabbana Eau de Toilettes Spray, Light Blue, 4.2 Fluid Ounce

Buy Dolce & Gabbana Men’s Colognes – Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana for Men 4.2 oz Eau de Toilette Spray. How-to-Use: For long-lasting effects fragrance should be applied to the body’s pulse points. These include the wrist, behind the ear, crease of your arm and knee, and the base of your throat. Pulse points give off more body heat as this is where blood vessels are closest to the skin, therefore continually warming and releasing your fragrance. Also, for a lasting effect spraying fragr

Product Features

  • Item Condition: Packaging for this item may be different than retail packaging. 100% authentic, new item. Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana for Men 4.2 oz Eau de Toilette Spray.
  • Light Blue by Dolce Gabbana for Men 4.2 oz EDT Spray: Buy Dolce Gabbana Men’s Colognes – Cool and confident, a scent for a mysterious man who exudes carefree charm and style. Blends of crisp citrus notes, spices, juniper, musks, incense and oak moss pack an alluring, enticing punch.
  • Type: Eau De Toilette

Elie Saab


The designer magnifies femininity, building his fairy-tale creations with simple designs, the finest materials, delicate hand-embroidery, intricate detail, and a sophisticated fusion of cultural influences. Saab’s specialty is the ultimate dress that highlights a woman’s silhouette, making him a go-to designer for international stars and royalty—including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Beyoncé, Aishwarya Rai, Emmanuelle Béart, Marion Cotillard, Bérénice Bejo, Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Betsey Johnson Ice Cream Cone Wristlet Clutch,Mint,One Size

Betsey Johnson Cone Wristlet with Chain DetailYou deserve a sweet treat without all the calories. This novelty wristlet adds a bit of creative flare to your ensembles. Whether tucked in your favorite tote or carried solo, your personal belongings are uniquely stored.

Product Features

  • Handle has a drop of 5″ and a length of 11″

Aokin 2pcs Sexy Ladies Women Push up Padded Bikini Trikini Swimwear Swimsuit (Green Leopard, M)

Description:

Material:80% polyester 20%spandex

Condition: Brand New in original

Color: As picture shown

Package Include:

1 Sets

Product Features

  • Material:80% polyester 20%spandex

Elie Saab Luscious Silk Chiffon One-Shoulder Embellished Gown Dress (6)

This chiffon beaded one-shoulder gown, comes with a fully embellished beaded shoulder. The top half of this elegant gown is fully pleated and draped, with the draping extending from the shoulder and flowing throughout dress’s design. Side zipper fastening. Lined.

Product Features

  • Blue
  • Lined
  • 100% Silk
  • Dry clean only
  • Imported

Arden B. Women’s Ruffle Sleeve Off-Shoulder Peasant Top L Hot Coral

Add that femme mystique to your closet with this pretty soft woven peasant blouse designed with a round smocked elastic neckline that sits off-shoulder and 3/4 sleeves that flare out at the ends with a ruffle trim. Top is unlined.

Model is 5’9” and wears a size small.

Product Features

  • USA
  • Hand Wash

Neff Skeleton Lady Liberty NYC Streetwear Tee Shirt Large

Item Features:

  • Classic Crew Neck
  • Ribbed Neck Line
  • Large Screen Print on the Front
  • Thick, Durable Material
  • Comfortable Fit
  • U.S. Men’s Sizing
  • 100% Cotton
  • Model Is Wearing Size Medium
  • Condition: Brand New
  • Brand: Neff
  • Returns Accepted

Product Features

  • Classic Crew Neck
  • Ribbed Neck Line
  • Large Screen Print on the Front
  • Thick, Durable Material
  • 100% Cotton

Luyan 50s Vintage Rockabilly Net Petticoat Skirt Tutu ,26″ Length (14, black)

The Brand New hoopless 1950s style Underskirt is the perfect accompaniment for ROCK n ROLL/50’s style dress or wear under FANCY dress as a costume accessory,giving extra fullness and a perfect shape. Also ideal for the bridesmaid’s Dress and big kid’s prom/dance wear. *size XS-M(approx.UK Size 6-12) Waist: Could cover approx.60cm~90cm/23.5″~35.5″ *size L-XL(approx.UK Size 14-20) Waist: Could cover approx.80cm~110cm/31.5″~43″ Please note: this item is flat packed when post,please iron under warm and low temperature to ease the crease.

Product Features

  • Knee Length(waist to hem)is approx.66cm/26″
  • Ideal for 50s style vintage dress,fancy dress or brides/bridesmaid knee-length dress–Can be worn on its own
  • Inner Material: Lining: a synthetic fiber
  • Made of TWO Layers of three Tiered ORGANDY with plenty of gathers to hold the dress’s shape,plus one Layer of lining to prevent scratching gentle sensitive skin
  • Waistband is made of approx.7″ length Lycra,which gives perfect FLAT fit under dress

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